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8s                             THE GAY GENIUS

out for his own career, his most important concern was to make a good
report. The incentive for personal competition was very much like the
Ailing of government bonds in modern days. When the officials knew
that they would be cashiered and degraded for "blocking reforms" if
they did not sell up to their quota, it was inevitable that loans began to
be allocated by official pressure, by what Wang was pleased to call the
"energetic" officials. Every family had to borrow from the government,
and everybody had to pay thirty per cent interest for a period of three
months. There were good officials who knew what harm these loans
were causing the poor people and the certainty of their being put in
jail for failure to repay capital and interest. These took the government
at its word and announced to the public that these loans, according
to the imperial decree, were srcrictly /"voluntary"; and they were
prepared to be degraded for "blocking reforms" when the day of
reckoning came.

In the draft exemption tax also, there was a great discrepancy between
official intentions and actual practice. This was probably the best reform
put through by Wang Anshih, and it was this measure which Su
Tungpo alone defended against his own party, when the latter was
in power and was determined to wipe out each and every one of Wang
Anshih's reforms.

For a long time the people of China had been subjected to conscrip-
tion for military service. The proposal was that the people should pay
a tax in place of the conscription. In other words, it meant replacing a
military draft system by a standing army of hired and paid soldiers.
However, from a careful study of the rules of this draft exemption^
one cannot escape the conclusion that the government was primarily
interested in the revenue from the tax, and whatever benefit it had in
relieving the people from military draft was nullified entirely by the
paochia system, which was even worse as a form of compulsory draft.
After careful deliberation for over a year, the regulations were pub-
lished. They provided that families which had been exempt from the
military draft were also compelled to pay the draft exemption tax; for
example, widows, families without children or with only one son or
with children not of age, and nuns and monks were compelled to pay
the tax under a different name, called "the draft-aid tax". Moreover,
twenty per cent was added to the regular tax over and above distrM
draft quotas, nominally to provide against the bad years when tit
people might not be able to pay. With the money collected from this
tax, soldiers and other employees of the government were to be hired.
Just as Su Tseyu had1 pointed out in the case of the farmers' loans that
tfae pe6ple would be put in prison and whipped for default, so Szema
^uang pointed out now exactly what happened later, that people who
jbted Bi(J cash to pay this tax in autumn and summer—when all the